Telecoms adapt to Covid 19

The Covid 19 pandemic demonstrates how fast societies can transform themselves. To achieve these quick reactions, telecoms are playing a central role. Just think how the world would have reacted to the same p

andemic situation just 20 years ago: no widely available mobile phones nor internet, no smartphones, no apps, … information would travel by television, newspapers and individual phone calls.

Consequently, the telecom industry has to ensure its resources remain 100% available even in these times of acute crisis.

The lockdown in many countries results in an overconsumption of bandwidth from all of us working from home at the same time and an increased usage of leisure-oriented resources: Netflix, on line games and others, which may lead to congestion for other more critical usages. Consequently, after having met with the European Commission, YouTube and Netflix have switched to standard definition streaming by default in Europe, in order to help reduce the load on internet infrastructure.

In the US, operators have signed on to support the Federal Communications Commission’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge.” For the next 60 days, most operators have agreed to halt service terminations due to unpaid bills, waive any late fees, and open their WiFi hotspots to any person that needs access.

While services may remain flexible to adapt to this unprecedented situation, the hardware industry is facing more issues.

Moreover, the global recession triggered by the Covid 19 pandemic, will affect all organizations involved in our technologies.

As semiconductor production has been either stopped or slowed down during several months, shortages are inevitable for all industries using electronic components. At the same time, the recession triggers a slowdown in consumer demand. Already global smartphone shipments in in February 2020 fell 38% vs. February 2019: from 99.2 million units down to 61.8 million in February 2020, according to Strategy Analytics. Since the beginning of the epidemic, we have seen Apple close its stores in China, then in the rest of the world, and now reopen them in China.

The smart card industry may be facing some disorganization due to short supplies of semiconductors, workforce shortage due to the disease and lockdown measures, and need to adapt to a quickly evolving demand from major markets including telecoms, payment identity, transport, etc. The leaders in our industry, which are further down on the evolution path towards software and services, will probably be less affected than other players for which manufacturing still represents the most important part of their sales and profits. The ongoing global recession will make 2020 a crisis year, let’s hope we will all recover from it.

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